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October 20, 2000

Creating Groupware and Messaging Apps with Visual Basic

Sebastopol, CA--Computers and devices are more connected now than ever before. Collaboration techniques have become a vital responsibility for corporate solution developers-changing not only the way we design systems, but the way we work. People need to share information, and need to do it quickly, without regard to the physical distance that separates us.

Collaboration Data Objects (CDO) is Microsoft's technology for building messaging or collaboration applications or adding these capabilities to existing applications. CDO enables Visual Basic applications to exchange not only classic email, but in fact any information in a straightforward and easy way. The Internet-sometimes seen as a barrier by developers-is turned into an open pipe, ready to take your application's data around the world. Routing documents and building email list servers is just the beginning.

CDO is a scripting interface to an existing Microsoft messaging model, the Messaging Application Programming Interface (MAPI). MAPI is the cornerstone of messaging on the Windows platforms, and profoundly influences the way collaboration applications are written. Understanding CDO and MAPI lays the foundation for adding effective collaboration capabilities to applications.

O'Reilly's latest release, CDO & MAPI Programming with Visual Basic: Developing Mail and Messaging Applications ($29.95 US) uncovers Microsoft's CDO and MAPI technologies that allow workgroup collaboration, including and beyond email. The book also includes succinct explanations of the types of useful messaging applications that can be written in Visual Basic. "This book fills a gap in a relatively young, yet exciting and popular technology that lacks adequate documentation," says author Dave Grundgeiger.

"The connectedness of computers and networks is only increasing," he says. "Messaging, collaboration, and workflow are no longer separate applications. Every application that is to be successful must possess these features to some degree. Today's applications must take the Internet into account as the global medium of collaboration. CDO and this book provide programmers with easy entry into this realm."

The bulk of the book focuses on Collaboration Data Objects (CDO), an automation-compatible object model that wraps MAPI and is accessible from Visual Basic as well as from scripted languages like VBScript. CDO enables Visual Basic applications to access not only email, but any information in a MAPI message store (such as contact or schedule information) in a straightforward and easy way.

"CDO provides a rich interface to Microsoft's Messaging API (MAPI) in the form of an object model, which is a programming concept especially familiar to Visual Basic programmers," says Grundgeiger. "CDO is intuitive, but does have some 'gotchas.'"

With O'Reilly's trademark no-nonsense, no-frills approach that focuses concisely on what you need to know to use CDO effectively, CDO & MAPI Programming with Visual Basic: Developing Mail and Messaging Applications provides the in-depth coverage of an exciting and inadequately documented technology that you'd expect from O'Reilly.

Online Resources:

CDO & MAPI Programming with Visual Basic: Developing Mail and Messaging Applications
By Dave Grundgeiger
1-56592-665-X, 384 pages $29.95
order@oreilly.com
1-800-998-9938

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